Stash diet/ Scrap revival

The quick godet skirt

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

This skirt was done in a few hours–not that it does not look like it was done in a few hours–, but I am mentioning it, because that’s pretty much the only thing I really like about it…

It was made from some fabric remnants that I picked up recently, exactly with some kind of a frilly skirt in mind. Originally I wanted to make a tiered skirt, but that’s really not my style, and I remembered this pattern from Burdastyle that had the best styling in the issue at the time. When I found out that it required over 4 meters of fabric, while I only had three 1 m x 75 cm pieces, I knew I had to do some modifications.

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

The easiest thing to do was to insert less godets into the main pieces, and make them half the required size. You might have already figured out where this story goes, but let me bore everyone else with it anyway: when I decided to make the godets half the size by cutting them at a 45° angle (instead of a 90° angle), I ended up with one side of the godet cut on the straight grain and the other one on bias.

While (without considering the grain) on pattern paper this was supposed to work, in real fabric life one side was a lot longer than the other, so I had to adjust them while sewing, cutting the excess off at the bottom, round section. Which of course made the hem totally uneven, and I found it too long as well, so it got shortened as compared to the first version (above).

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

I also tried to omit the dreaded zip insertion by sewing on a wide elastic waistband, but after a 30 minute wrestle, and finding out that it’s impossible to attach almost 2 meters of fabric (no matter how gathered it is) to a 70 cm long elastic band, I ended up putting on a normal waistband with a placket closure with a button. This is not very cool when the difference between your empty and full stomach measurement is huge. 🙂

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

I have worn it once so far (not with sandals, this is England, after all 😉 ), it’s great for twirling (important, right?) and it goes well with my colourful jumpers, but I am just not that excited about it really. Having said that, the feeling of making your stash mountain a little smaller, by turning a piece of fabric that was declared wastage into something wearable (even if you end up with a garment that will not be in too much rotation), is just priceless.

TheSecretCostumier -The quick godet skirt

Bags. Handmade!, From scratch, Stash diet/ Scrap revival

DIY fur bag

ThteSecretCostumier - Fur bag1

ThteSecretCostumier - Fur bag2

For a person who gets by with a single bag for everyday occasions, I have been extremely busy sewing all kinds of bags lately (the ones for Berlin & Bangkok). And it’s not over yet, but not to worry, there are only two more left to show you…

So, what we have here is my party bag. If you know me in person you are now thinking: what party do you go to exactly? Well, I guess I would call a wild Saturday night a success, if I managed to stay up until 3AM  in the morning and finished something I have started sewing at the time. But jokes aside (I’m not even kidding, though 🙂 ), I may not go out all dressed up that much, but this furry little thing works well when I intend to dress something up too.

ThteSecretCostumier - Fur bag

ThteSecretCostumier - Fur bag3

You may recognize the faux fur from my military jacket, as it is made from the leftover fabric that I used for the collar. One day when I accidentally purchased some more fabric that I already did not need (obvs.), I decided to make space for them by doing some scrap busting.

I took the chain from an old bag, and used the remaining fabric from my birthday dress as a lining. The bag is really tiny, but it can hold my “party essentials”, so I am really quite happy for it’s existence! 😉



From scratch, Stash diet/ Scrap revival

Sneak peak #6

From scratch, Stash diet/ Scrap revival

Bias and lace

The top that I wore during Me-Made-May for the first time is a wearable muslin really. Since I didn’t think I could find anything in my wardrobe that would go with it, I decided to make matching French knickers from the leftover fabric, so that I end up with a fancy set of nightwear (that I can occasionally wear out too 😉 ).

I got the fabric from my all time favourite source – the remnant box at the fabric shop. It was probably about a 1.5m x 1m piece and I bought it so that I can try my hand at making a bias cut camisole. It’s a polyester fabric and my sister says it looks like something bridesmaid dresses would have been made of in the 90’s, but at least it doesn’t wrinkle too easily and I wasn’t afraid to cut into it.

TheSecretCostumier - Lingerie3

I copied the camisole pattern from my sister’s RTW version and added a facing at the top. The shorts are high-waisted French knickers with a placket opening on the side. The pattern was drafted by following Vera Venus’ free pattern instructions (it’s towards the bottom of the page).

TheSecretCostumier - Lingerie4

Since I didn’t quite have enough fabric to cut the shorts on the grain – and because I had to re-cut the legs after cutting two right back leg pieces – I had to insert a patchwork panel and some lace on the front and back. I have never worked with lace before, and especially after the nightmare that sewing the main fabric was, working with lace was a pleasant surprise.

I haven’t worn these shorts yet, as I still need to hand-sew some snap fasteners on, but hopefully it will work as a piece to protect my modesty during hot summer cycles under skirts and dresses. Of course it doesn’t look like it will be that hot in London anytime soon, so the dreaded hand sewing can wait… 😉

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers
From scratch, Stash diet/ Scrap revival

No patterns required


    I have nothing against patterns, I swear. It’s just that I’m extremely lazy and I forget easily that it’s more hassle than fun to experiment and hope for the best when it comes to dressmaking. Yet it has become a habit I am not likely to break in the future.

   I can assure you that sewing without patterns will make the fitting process longer, the sewing part more difficult and it will be frustrating. But it’s gonna worth it. If you are ready to challenge yourself, I suggest you grab and roughly copy your favourite RTW garment, cut out and change a pattern randomly (and drastically) or just play around with some fabric.

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

   That’s pretty much what I did with these two pieces. The trousers started out as some palazzo-leg/ paperbag-top pants with pleating on the top. I know it sounds unnecessarily complicated, but it was supposed to be the most comfortable, most flattering pair I could ever imagine. I altered a plain, straight leg trousers pattern from Burdastyle and added a few centimeters on top. I cut and slashed the pattern to make pleats and it kind of worked with the toille, which was made of some pretty stiff cotton. Then I found this black silky fabric in the remnants box at the shop, and that’s obviously where things started to go all wrong… This was my first time cutting “silk” and I cut one leg way smaller, as I lifted the fabric off the table while cutting. Lesson no.1 learned. Even though I adjusted the other leg too, it turned out to be very tight, so it all ended up in the scrap bag (and what remained became the asymmetric dress).

   Then I lost a little weight, summer was approaching, I needed new trousers, so I gave it another go. I decided to ditch the pleats and inserted an elastic band to the waistband at the back. Now I just needed to find find out what to do with the excess fabric in the front. I figured if I pull it to one side, then I’ll have more room at the crotch and it looked pretty modern too, so I was happy with the outcome. Then I made the legs tapered and turned the hems up to make it look more casual, so that I can wear them with le trainers.

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

   Hemming was a nightmare, and I ended up handsewing an elastic band into the turned up hem. This did not turn out to be a permanent solution, but hey, I did it the first time, and I can do it again. And again.

  So the pair of trousers was ready, Me-Made-May rolled in, and I was up for wearing the hell out of it. The only time this happened though, was when I popped down to the shop to test run it… just to realize it was way too tight to do anything else but stand prettily in it. The solution was easy, all I needed was to make it sit on my hip instead of my waist by sewing a second buttonhole on it. This makes it 2-in-1, as I can cycle in it when it sits lower and could just pull it higher up for going out, as it looks more flattering that way. In reality I mostly go with option 1, of course…;)

   The bodysuit was inspired by the plethora of Netties out there, plus I realized I wear bodysuits quite often already. I had some leftover fabric from the piece I used to cover my DIY dressform. You probably know by now that I love wearing anything backless, so when I realized that I don’t have enough fabric, I just lowered the back on the pattern that I roughly copied from a bodysuit that I own. Since the scraps were not big enough, I had to cut up the pattern. I used the largest piece for the front, so that I have no seams there, and  I played around with the scraps at the back. Since this was intended to be a quick scrap-busting project I used some yellow thread that was available instead of a matching one. It’s contrasting, but the difference is not quite visible, so It looks more like a design detail than a distraction (to me).

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

   Since I used a stretch fabric that’s most likely a ponte knit, it was almost like sewing with a woven. The regular straight seams just didn’t look flexible and strong enough, so I decided to sew it with the smallest zig-zag stitch on my machine, which worked really well, but it was a pain to unpick while eliminating fitting issues. And there were a few. The armholes still don’t feel tight enough, and it took a while to get everything flat and snug with the back panels. I could go on about how ugly the homemade snap fastener bit looks, but it does the job very well, this is one of my most comfortable makes and it makes me feel pretty good about myself! I mean dreaming up and making something super flattering for yourself is one little victory. But coming up with resolutions to problems you never knew existed all by yourself, is what will put that smile on your face every time you wear it.

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

TheSecret Costumier - Bodysuit made of scraps & 2-in-1 trousers

From scratch, Refash., Stash diet/ Scrap revival

Sewing, uninterrupted

It’s kind of what I’ve always longed for. 10 days alone at home. The sewing machine constantly set up, the cutting mat covering half of the kitchen floor. There’s a constant flow jazz in the background and there’s no stopping until 3 in the morning.

My mum and sister has abandoned me to visit family in Nigeria, and although I’ve realized that even though I’ve always wanted to live alone, I’m willing to admit that it’s definitely not for me. I might -weirdly- be more organised on my own (if I don’t do the washing up, nobody else will after all…), and I might have all the time in the world to do my own thing, but I painfully miss having someone around to talk to. But enough of the self-pity, I hope they are having the time of their life, and there’s only a couple of days left until they come back, so I’m planning to make the most of the remaining time. In between hosting sleepovers and dinner parties, I came up with a couple of projects to finish until next Tuesday.

TheSecretCostumier - Sewing, uninterrupted2

Set up dressform

I’ve made a dressform guys. Again. This time around I’ll just have to show you how it was done, as there’s so much you can learn about how NOT to make one. I would like to experiment in draping, so I’ll mark the Centre Front, CB, etc. and make a basic bodice block first, to see how close it comes to fitting my real body.

TheSecretCostumier - Sewing, uninterrupted5

Finish Mum’s dress

I’ve found this fabric in Rolls&Rems in the remnants box about a year ago. It’s almost finished, but the waist line is terribly wonky, so it’s the kind of annoying but necessary alteration that keeps a garment  in the cupboard for ages. I’ve already marked the new waistline, so all I need to do is gathering the skirt bit again and attaching to the bodice.

TheSecretCostumier - Sewing, uninterrupted

Make a knit garment

I have quite a bit left from the fabric I used to cover the dressform, and I guess I got the “sewing with knits bug” from seeing all the Netties, Monetas & Mabels springing up, so I decided to join the party. I’m making a bodysuit as well, by copying a RTW garment and altering the pattern so that I can use the smaller fabric pieces.

TheSecretCostumier - Sewing, uninterrupted3

Make toille for the Birthday Dress

My birthday is less than a month away, and even if I don’t end up wearing this, I really want to finish it by then. This is going to be the first time I’m using boning and I can smell a disaster coming, but I’m pretty excited about it at the same time. If I can fit the toille this week, then I assume I could use that as the underlining later.

Upcycle the leather shorts

I found this real leather, dark brown pair of shorts on Brick Lane for about £1.40. It’s a tad too small and very 80’s, but the wrong side of the leather looks really nice. I was going to make a moccasin for myself, or for a colleague’s newborn baby, but I might stick to making something I can actually wear in public, like a skirt, some kind of a top/jacket or a bag inspired by my ever-growing Bags to make board on Pinterest.

TheSecretCostumier - Sewing, uninterrupted1

Make a bra

This is my favourite fabric I’ve ever bought, and although I have about 3 meters of it (remnants box find too!), I haven’t been able to figure out what pattern could do justice to this awesome, but very loud print. To avoid making that decision I keep coming up with small projects to use a piece of it that I cut off when I  got it. I used the flowers for the embellished trainers (still in the making…) and I’m planning on making a triangle bra this time.

 P.S.: Any advice regarding draping on a form, using boning, or making bras is more than welcome! 😉

From scratch, Stash diet/ Scrap revival

Experiments in draping #1: The asymetric dress

    So I’m on a stash diet. You know, that’s what you do when you have more fabric than space to hold it. The plan is to use up what I already have first, before I buy any new fabric, as I promised myself in January.

    I had this fabric lying around, left over from a self drafted disaster pair of trousers, and I just felt too lazy to find a pattern, copy the pattern, cut the fabric out neatly, then sew it all together (you know the drill)… So I decided to just copy the neckline and armholes of one of my favorite low-back (knit) tops, and use that as a guide to draft a pattern. It was supposed to be the base of a subtraction cut top (will blog about this later), but I decided to make a draped dress instead. I used the wrong (matte) side of the fabric for the top, and the right (shiny) side of it for the skirt bit. I normally don’t wear dresses without a cinched in waist, so when I was experimenting with the draping, I tried to give some definition to my waist while keeping it minimal/modern at the same time.


The pocket (“hidden” in the seams on the waist) was something I wanted to try for a long time, and I quite like how it turned out! I’m pretty sure the draping is not done as it’s supposed to be done, as it is pulling that side quite a bit, but it works anyway!


The good

The fabric was very slippery, but pressing it was a joy! I’m pretty happy with how the tiny hem and my first ever facing turned out.

The bad

There are slits on the sides of the dress to allow more movement, but it’s still absolutely useless when it comes to cycling. I ended up having to pull the whole skirt bit up to my waist (yes, basically riding in my tights), covering myself with my cardigan. This is obviously not a solution, so I will add godets and insert invisible zippers to hide them for non-riding times, essentially turning a pencil dress into an A-line one. Or make it into a t-shirt. 🙂

Lessons learned
  • The tissue paper cutting technique really works like magic with silk-like fabrics,
  • Pressing with a wet cloth/steam makes for perfect seam, but once they are set, they are there forever…
  • This tiny hem sewing technique.